hello and welcome back to "newsline" i'm shery ahn. let's get started with the head lines. south korea's president says the actions of the captain and some crew members of a sunken ferry are like an act of murder. the chief of japan's maritime self-defense force is visiting china for the first time in five years. and some japanese companies are going back to the drawing board in an effort to change
attitudes towards traditional products. the president of south korea has lashed out at the captain and some crew members of the ferry that sank last week. park geun-hye compared their actions to murder. prosecutors are investigating whether those in charge of the ship did enough to help the hundreds of passengers who were trapped inside. >> translator: the conduct of the captain and some crew members is unfathomable from the viewpoints of common sense, and it was like an act of murder that cannot and should not be tolerated. >> park says the captain and some crew told passengers to stay where they were, then escaped first. she saids that legally and ethically, unimaginable. prosecutors have already arrested the the captain and two crew members. they say four other crew are suspected of leaving passengers unattended resulting in their deaths. authorities have released a recording of radio communications between the ferry and the marine traffic
controller at the time of the accident. >> the crew failed to deploy most of the ferry's life rafts. authorities say the operator of the ship had not given sufficient emergency training. the "sewol" sank last wednesday with 476 people on board, including more than 300 high school students. coast guard officials say 64 people have been confirmed dead. and 238 remain missing. the search and rescue operation is based in the port of jindo. nhk world's anna jung joined us earlier from there.
>> shery, search efforts have continued throughout the day. rescue vessels have been coming and going from this port. they're using more than 200 vessels and 35 aircraft. teams of divers are taking turns entering the sunken ferry. they concentrated on searching the fourth and third levels today. they were also planning on using a remote controlled underwater probe. coast guard officials say divers have secured a new entryway into the ferry's dining hall. many people are believed to be trapped there. >> and anna, what can you tell us about the many family members waiting at the port? >> representatives of the families are planning to go out to the area where the rescue efforts are taking place. it's about 20 kilometers from this port. they want to look at the ongoing operation themselves. they will be briefed along the way, as well report back to the families onshore. relatives and friends of the missing have put out messages on
the walls of tents at the port. one was from some parents. it read, our sons and daughters, wait a little longer, we are on our way. another was from a friend of the high school students. it said, i believe you're still alive. volunteers from around the country have come to jindo to support the families, and their rescue teams. some were serving food while others provided medicine. i spoke to one pharmacist who arrived here on friday. >> translator: it's really painful. i haven't been able to do anything. that would be fine if the passengers were unhurt. but the search hasn't turned up any survivors. i wish they would find even just one. >> representatives of the families asked the prime minister yesterday to increase the number of rescue workers. they want to speed up the operation. it's now into its sixth day. >> nhk world's anna jung there
in jindo, south korea. and we have ron madison with the numbers from the business desk. >> the japanese officials are growing increasingly concerned now about the flow of goods through their ports. they posted a trade deficit for the business year that just ended, and it's a record. finance ministry officials released trade data for march to complete the picture for the year. the annual deficit added up to more than $130 billion. that's the largest since officials started keeping comparable data back in 1979. exports rose more than 10% in yen terms. imports, meantime, rose more than 17%. nuclear reactors that used to power much of japan's grid are offline, so officials have had to bring in more crude oil, and natural gas, to power thermal plants. and a weaker yen does make all imports more expensive. ministry officials said the
deficit in march alone came to about $14 billion. imports have exceeded exports for 21 consecutive months. the growing trade gap is worrying japanese leaders. they're turning now to top business executives to help reverse the trend. officials with the industry ministry are launching a special panel. they've asked senior executives from companies such as hit after u and comatsui to take part. panel members will discuss ways to help businesses become more profitable and compute in global markets. they'll work on strengthening japanese brands and help managers use advanced technologies to create more products. pant members will look at ways to boost tourism and agriculture and focus on regional economies struggling with shrinking populations. ministry officials plan to include panel members' ideas in the government's economic growth strategy that's due out in june. all right let's get a check of the markets now. many foreign investors were still out of the markets for the easter holiday break. and trading volume in asian markets was pretty thin. here's how major bourses
finished out this monday, mainland chinese equities under a bit of pressure today. that's after the securities regulators unveiled the list of companies that have scheduled new listings. investors pretty cautious about a potential oversupply of shares in the market after initial public offerings resume following a two-month pause. the shanghai composite, there you see it, down 1.5% today, 2,065. that is a two-week closing low. here in tokyo the nikkei average edged down just a touch at 14,512. trading was pretty slow. many participants were looking out for earnings results to be released by major japanese corporations later on in the week. in the philippines the key index there was a nice gain today of just under 1.5%. 6,767. that's a level that we haven't seen since late july. foreign investors picked up shares of blue chip firms like telecom giant and shopping mall developers. well japan's april 1st consumption tax hike drove up domestic production of crude steel. new figures show output in the
last fiscal year hit its highest point since 2009. japan iron and steel federation says domestic steelmakers pumped out a total of 111.5 million tons in fiscal 2013 that just ended in march. that's up 3.9% from the previous year and the second straight annual rise. demand was driven by construction, and auto companies. sales of condominiums and cars rose ahead of the tax hike. reconstruction projects in the disaster hit northeast. also, pushed up demand. officials with the federation say despite the tax hike they expect only a slight drop in output for this fiscal year. they expect corporate capital investment to improve. shipments of home appliances in japan also surged last month thanks to a national shopping spree ahead of that tax hike. the japan electrical manufacturers association says shipments of air conditioners, refrigerators, and other devices grew more than 19% year-on-year in march. that's the fifth straight month
of double digit growth. so down from the 34% recorded in january. the total value of march shipments topped $2.3 billion. but the association says shipments for the entire fiscal 2014 are likely to fall 12.4% to about $20 billion. some retailers say they've seen a drop of more than 10% in sales of larger appliances such as washers and refrigerators since the tax hike. analysts are watching to see if demand bounces back before the summer season. designers balance form and function in crafting furniture, appliances, and cars. and now some are drawing up plans for products not usually associated with modern design. and they're changing the lines of machines that have been used for generations. >> reporter: this is a concept tractor created by a major japanese manufacturer. its futuristic design resembles a robot. the seat is upholstered in genuine leather made in germany.
the narrow hood creates a sharp, masculine look. the tractor is in a facility that teaches children about various fields of work. it aims to interest young visitors in agriculture, as the country's farming workforce shrinks. >> translator: it looks cool. i want to drive it. >> translator: i love the design. i'm surprised it can really be used for farmwork. >> reporter: the tractor was designed by okuama whose past clients include porsche and ferrari. the manufacturer offered him a position on the board in april last year. it wanted to incorporate sleek, modern design into the function-oriented products developed by its engineers. okuama started by visiting farmers around japan and asking
about their needs. he found out they want a tractor with a smooth ride. a comfortable seat. and 360-degree visibility. >> translator: i want farmers to be proud of their tractors. design can create that pride. >> reporter: the company has also worked with a fashion designer to create stylish work clothes for farmers. it is using design to generate interest in agriculture. wheelchairs are also getting a design makeover. this electric model looks like a futuristic personal vehicle. it was designed to encourage wheelchair users who are hesitant to go out in public. >> it actually is both a design and a performance revelation. >> reporter: the wheelchair was developed by a venture firm.
the company has its headquarters in the united states, and developed products in japan. the designer came up with various ideas to make users look stylish. one of them is the seat. a traditional wheelchair forces a person to lean back in the seat. but this high-tech model was designed to allow the user to sit with a straight back, creating an attractive posture. it features four-wheel drive, allowing it to move smoothly even on rough terrain. the front wheels can even move sideways, allowing it to move in small spaces gracefully. >> translator: going out into the streets with this wheelchair will change the attitude of the user, as well as other people.
it has the power to break down stereotypes about wheelchair users. >> reporter: companies are using innovative design to shed old perceptions of their products. stylish design, paired with functionality, is generating new interests from users. >> all right. well japanese electronics maker hitachi has unveiled what its officials are calling the world's fastest elevator. it runs with an ear-popping speed of 1200 meters a minute. that's 72 kilometers an hour. >> translator: hitachi will deliver this elevator to china in 2016. this will be the world's fastest elevator. >> the existing record holder is a lift in a high rise in taiwan. its top speed is 60.6 kilometers an hour. hitachi engineers achieved the new speed by developing powerful motors and making the cables 30% lighter.
the engineers also doubled the number of vibration control devices to keep passengers comfortable. hitachi plans to install the elevator in a high rise to be completed in the chinese city of guangzhou in 2016. the elevator can climb to the 95th floor of the building in just 43 seconds. company officials say china accounts for about 60% of the global demand for elevators. the japanese maker is competing with its overseas rifles for market share. all right, that's going to do it for biz this hour. here's the markets.
north korean officials have criticized u.s. president barack obama's upcoming trip to asia. they're calling the visit a very dangerous move. the state-run korean central news agency sent a message from the foreign ministry. it said obama's visit to japan, south korea, and other asian countries will raise tensions. and will also accelerate a nuclear arms race in what it calls an unstable region. the statement says the maneuvers by the u.s. would have a negative impact on any resu resumption of the six-party talks on pyongyang's nuclear program and the denuclearization of the korean peninsula. it also said the u.s. should calmly examine whether such a
hostile policy is in its own interests. obama's visit to asia starts this wednesday. he plans to discuss north korea's nuclear development with japanese prime minister shinzo abe, and south korean president park geun-hye. the head of japan's maritime self-defense force is on a visit to china. he'll take part in an international naval conference. it's the first time in five years an msdf chief of staff will visit the country. katsutoshi kawano will attend the western pacific naval symposium in the eastern city of qingdao. top naval officers from about 20 countries will discuss setting up a system to avoid trouble at sea. >> translator: common rules for naval vessels and aircraft would be effective to avert unforeseen contingencies. >> japanese officials wanted to arrange a meeting between kawano and chinese navy commander wu shengli. but a chinese navy spokesperson
said the two would not hold direct talks. bilateral ties have been strained since the japanese government nationalized some of the senkaku islands in the east china sea two years ago. japan controls the islands. china and taiwan claim them. a chinese court has ordered the seizure of a cargo ship owned by a japanese shipping firm. court officials say the firm has failed to pay fees dating back nearly 80 years. the iron ore carriers is anchored at a port in eastern china. officials with shanghai maritime court announced on saturday that they have seized it. the ship's owners admit the osk line say they're trying to figure out what to do next. court officials said in 2007 that a predecessor to mitsui had been in arrears on leasing fees for two ships. that were used during the japan/china war. the conflict broke out in 1937. the court ordered the company to pay compensation of about $30
million. lawyers for mitsui launched an appeal, but in 2010, china's supreme people's court rejected it. the managers of other japanese companies with assets in china wonder whether the seizure will have implications for them. former chinese laborers and their relatives have filed lawsuits against several companies. the complainants say they were forced to work in japan during world war ii and they're demanding they be compensated. japan's chief cabinet secretary yoshihide suga says the seizure of the japanese cargo ship is extremely regrettable. >> translator: china's move could shake the basis for normalizing bilateral diplomatic ties as set down in a 1972 statement by the two countries. the move may also affect all japanese firms doing business in china.
>> suga said japan's government is deeply concerned and hopes china will take appropriate measures. election officials in afghanistan say they're halfway through counting the votes from this month's presidential poll. they say former foreign minister abdullah abdullah is ahead. but they're looking into allegations of vote rigging. people across afghanistan went to the polls on april 5th. members of the election commission have released their midterm results. abdullah has received about 44% of the vote. he was a senior member of the northern alliance. that was a group that cooperated with international forces to bring down the taliban government.
former finance minister ash rat ghani has 33% of the vote. he's a former world bank official. zalman rassoul got 10% of the vote and is reportedly close to outgoing president hamid karzai. administration officials are recounting some of the ballots. they expect boat rigging in about 7% of the tolling stations. on thursday they plan to make a preliminary announcement about the final election results but the investigation into the alleged vote rigging might cause delays. now the people who run malaysia airlines are dealing with new problems in the air. aviation officials in kuala lumpur say a jet has made an emergency landing. no one on board was hurt. the boeing 737 was carrying 159 passengers and 7 crew members. it took off from kuala lumpur airport bound for bangalore in southern india. but the plane lost pieces of its landing gear during takeoff. they were found on the runway.
so air traffic controllers told the captain to return to the airport. the pilots circled for about four hours to burn off fuel. then they landed the plane without incident. workers found that one of the tires on the plane was punctured. >> it was actually very calm. there was not very rushed. it was very smooth landing. >> last month a malaysia airlines passenger jet disappeared with 239 people on board. the search for that plane is continuing. we're seeing floods in northern india. our meteorologist robert speta joins me now. robert, how common are floods this time of year, given that it's supposed to be dry season in india? >> shery, you're exactly right. it is dry season.
flooding, well, it just doesn't happen all that often. and the problem is, well a lot of the farmers out here, they want the rain, but the timing is definitely way off. i'll show you some video coming out of northern india. now this is in the kashmir region where the heavy rainfall has devastated the growing of the wheat crop here over the past month. this is quite unusual. the monsoon typically doesn't pick in for this part of india until mid-july. the rain has been dampening the prospects of a large production this season. remember a lot of these farmers do depend on that rainfall being right on time. and it typically starts mid-july and you can still see the cloud cover across pakistan and into kashmir is that rainfall. now the rest of india, you are still looking at dry weather. clear skies out here. highs into the high 30s, to low 40s. so it is remaining rather dry down here towards the south. let's look farther towards the east, though, a different type of monsoon setting up into eastern asia. a monsoon that's starting to get its act together.
what we do see this time of year is a siberian high starts to lift off. and the west high works its way in towards the south. you can see the band of cloud cover. this is the low pressure area basically stretches right between those two highs. that makes for rainfall. after three to four days a low coming across this. much of japan, you saw about 80 millimeters in the past 24 hours. tokyo still looking at some wet weather going through the next 24 hours and in to tuesday afternoon, you could see some rainfall out of this as it does push off towards the east. back towards the west another low developing along that frontal area, and that's going to be seeing some rainfall or bringing some rainfall that is south of the yangtze river basin. hong kong, partly cloudy skies but don't be surprised to see a drizzle or two in your forecast. then down towards the south a tropical depression east of the philippines. this one definitely want to keep a close eye on it. but it is going to be bringing some rainfall across much of southern luzon over towards masai through the coming days. for now partly cloudy skies if you are out there in manila.
tokyo high of 18 on your tuesday. rain showers there for you. and then over towards seoul, 23. let's take a look over towards the americas now, where we continue to watch a low pressure area moving in to the pacific northwest across british columbia. big thing with this one, if you are a fan of snow, go to the higher elevations across the cascades. we see about five centimeters in the next 24 hours, as this low does continue to push onshore. back off towards the east, well, have another system that's pushing throughs central plains into the midwest. this is going to be ushering some cooling weather across much of the north through the next several days. the other big thing with that is it's pushing this cold front south. we have warm, moist air being drawn out of the gulf of mexico toward the southeast and actually dry weather in to the southwest. some fire weather warnings are in effect out here. while what's happening is all three of these different air masses are clashing here in eastern texas so by tuesday afternoon don't be surprised if we see some large hail and possibility of some tornadoes and some severe weather will be erupting with that. didn't mention the cooler
temperatures. take a look off towards the north. chicago with a high of 23 on your monday. by wednesday, down to 8. washington a 10 degree drop as well once the low starts to me by. quickly into europe, i have some more information on this later on but we have been watching some severe weather across much of the eastern mediterranean. including turkey. you had a tornado over the weekend in romania, some severe flooding. for now i'll leave you with your extended forecast.
carter has died of cancer. he had spent 19 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. carter was born in new jersey in 1937 and was a professional boxer. he was arrested in 1966 and convicted of killing three people. carter was black, and the victims were white. his story was turned into a song by bob dylan and a hollywood film starring denzel washington. a court threw out his conviction in 1985 and ordered his release. carter then became an advocate for people wrongly convicted of crimes. one of them was former japanese mobster hakamada. he spent decades on death row for murders committed in the 1960s. he was granted a retrial and released last month. carter reportedly sent letters of encouragement to him. a los friend says carter died on sunday in toronto. ruben carter was 76 years old. and that's all for this hour on "newsline."
>> here are your headlines. into the eye of the diplomatic storm, the american vice president will soon arrive in the ukraine, as a separatist leader urges the russian president to send in troops and is failing that kiev to implement last week's international accord. akin to murder. the south korean president has lambasted those responsible for the sinking of the south korean ferry. and honors are back on the streets of boston, one year after twin pressure cooker bombs exploded, killing